The TB sanatorium at Nelspoort

John Garlick’s dream sanatorium at Nelspoort, north of Beaufort West, did not materialize as rapidly as expected.  Many people had hoped that the steady flow of chest sufferers from Europe to the Karoo in search of a cure, would filter to this central point, but as a Mr Duminy pointed out at a conference on tuberculosis in 1924, this did not happen. The Minister of Public Health suggested that the sanatorium be thrown open to all four provinces, but Duminy said that was out of the question. Something would have to be worked out as regards payment and people from the Cape would have to be given preference. His reasoning was that the Cape was more highly taxed than other provinces owing to its system of local government. Also, it has contributed to the large farm at Nelspoort. There was still plenty of land available in this area, he said and other provinces could purchase this for their own needs in respect of tuberculosis. This suggestion was greeted with applause. The East London Daily Dispatch reported that a Mr Turpin from Bedford opposed the regulation calling upon small towns to pay half the costs of patients sent.  He felt this grossly unfair.  An institution such as the Nelspoort Sanatorium, he said, should be open to all who could not pay.  Mr Paul Cluver was instantly on his feet objecting to this. Such an arrangement he said would see the institution being swamped with incurables. He found the cost of 10s a day “most reasonable”, particularly if relations, or the province or town sending the patient, paid half.  So much heated discussion followed, that the congress only ended at 20h00 that night, still with a stringent warning that if the Cape could not fill the sanatorium there would be no alternative but to throw open its doors to other provinces.


© Rose’s Roundup, October 2011 (No 213)

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